- Contributed by
- People in story:
- J G Taylor
- Location of story:
- Cheam, Surrey
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 July 2005
I was 13 and a half years old at the time. It was a glorious early Saturday morning in November 1944, with a touch of Autumnal mist diffusing the sunshine. We lived in Cheam in Surrey, in an area which had come to be known as 'Doodlebug Alley'. More of these German flying bombs landed in our Borough than anywhere else in the London area.
When these weapons first started to arrive in the June, as soon as their engines cut out for lack of fuel, they would go into a steep dive and explode seconds later. The rule for survival was 'Dive for cover as soon as the throbbing stops - and quick!' But by the November, the Germans had created a variant whereby the doodlebug glided on after the engine had stopped. So many arrived in this manner that one got blase and forgot the possibility that one, heard distantly, could be heading your way.
I was out in the back garden with Father just after breakfast. We'd heard the distant noise of an arrival, then the cut-out. The next thing we were conscious of was an ever-increasing whooshing noise. We both looked up to see the doodlebug gliding directly towards us and no higher than twice the height of the house. We could pick out every rivet in the metalwork. We were glued to the spot in shock.
It glided on some two hundred yards before exploding on contact with the ground. As luck would have it , it landed in the park, rather than amongst the houses nearby. There was a lot of smashed glass and damaged roofs, but no injuries or loss of life.
A lucky day for us all - especially Father and myself!
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